Impact of Social Media on Lifelong Learning

Table of Content

Learning, in the context of lifelong learning, is the continuous process of acquiring knowledge and skills throughout a person’s lifetime. It is crucial for individuals to continue learning as it allows them to stay connected with the world and adapt to its rapid evolution. Lifelong learners actively seek out opportunities for learning even after completing their formal education.

According to Albert Bandura (1925-present), learning goes beyond reading books; it also involves learning from others through interaction, imitation, and modeling. Delor emphasizes that lifelong learning encompasses gaining new knowledge and skills, effectively utilizing this knowledge, living harmoniously with others, and developing one’s personality.

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Psychologists consider learning as a social activity. With the emergence of social networks and new technologies, people of all ages can now access vocational training or academic pursuits to keep up with the changing world and avoid obsolescence.

Social Media and Learning

‘Social media’ refers to various web-based tools and services used for different purposes (Lee, McLoughlin, 2010). These resources emphasize active participation, connectivity, collaboration, and the sharing of knowledge and ideas among users. They have played a vital role in developing an information society where learners can easily access information through social networks and Google search for research and projects. Furthermore, social media is considered a valuable tool for lifelong learning as it helps individuals stay updated with new knowledge (Kind & Evans, 2015).
Technology and social media have created online communities that allow learners of all ages to connect with the online educational community. The internet and social media have transformed the world into a global village by enabling people from different locations to communicate across time zones and continents.
In addition, social media serves as a common space where learners can communicate, chat, share videos, and interact with others who have similar interests or engage in informal discussions. This interactivity allows learners to freely express their opinions, feelings, and ideas without facing barriers imposed by traditional hierarchies. Social media has significant potential for breaking down these hierarchies.

Social media platforms and applications have been developed specifically for educational purposes, such as e-learning. E-learning utilizes electronic devices to facilitate formalized teaching and enable learners to achieve their learning goals. Effective e-learning requires various analytical activities to ensure success. Computers and the Internet play a vital role in e-learning, which can be described as transferring skills and knowledge through a network to a large number of recipients simultaneously or at different times. In the corporate sector, e-learning has proven effective for multinational companies conducting worldwide training programs. This allows employees to acquire essential skills while situated in a boardroom or participating in seminars with employees from various organizations. Schools using e-learning technologies have an advantage over those using traditional methods.

E-learning vs Social media

Both e-learning and social media have similarities that promote lifelong learning. They are both cost efficient, providing information at a low cost, and allow fast and easy access for everyone. Additionally, they require no high level education to use. E-learning is closely linked to formal education and its content is updated by professionals. However, it is limited in that it can be fixed, impersonal, and lacks social interaction. On the other hand, social media is more attractive and focuses on the quality of users. Its limitations include being distracting and can be used for both formal and informal education, with content being driven by users.

Social Media Tools for Promoting Lifelong Learning

‘Social media tools enhance the learning environment, making it more dynamic by providing support for new features and characteristics. These tools facilitate learning for both adult learners and educators, encouraging them to actively create and share information instead of solely accessing content.’ (Lee, McLoughlin 2010) Innovative technologies like Smartphones, Tablets, and Laptops serve as social media tools that offer accurate and up-to-date information, enabling learners to quickly access research materials. Integrating social media into educational activities fosters connections between learners and tutors, enhancing communication outside of the traditional classroom setting. (Lui 2010) Such online social networks allow learners and instructors to engage socially in an online environment, facilitating connections and enabling learners to participate in group learning processes. Additionally, websites like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Linkedin provide avenues for socializing and interacting in the learning process. Learners can engage in activities that enhance writing skills while also gaining proficiency with electronic and digital devices.’

Limitation of Social Media on Lifelong Learning

Researchers (Greenhow, Robelia, 2009) have identified risks that learners may face when using social software in educational systems. These risks include workload concerns for educators and students, lack of trust in peer feedback, ownership issues regarding public and collaborative spaces, difficulty in adapting publicly available tools, and difficulty in protecting the anonymity of students. “Causes Face-to-Face Interactions to Feel Disconnected” refers to Greenhow’s suggestion that learners lose their ability to communicate face-to-face, which may cause problems when participating in professional interviews. Causes Distractions: Learners may also become distracted with other activities or websites instead of concentrating on their studies. Furthermore, social media “Diminishes Understanding and Thoughtfulness” as learners often rely on online sources without making an effort to understand information on their own. It also facilitates laziness as learners can simply use Google Search to gain all the information they need. “Conveys Inauthentic Expression of Feelings” highlights how learners often use shorthand writing and commonly emoticons to express their emotions instead of writing complete phrases. This contributes to a lack of emotional connection.

After considering research and arguments, it can be concluded that social media has had an impact on how learners engage in lifelong learning. Lifelong learning begins with learning itself. Social networks interfere by offering tools that enhance our learning process and improve our skills. The internet has become a platform for accessing education globally, either for free or at reduced costs. Technologies are constantly evolving to provide better resources and services, but it is up to the learners to use these tools effectively.


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  3. Albert Bandura (1925 – Present) social learning theory
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  7. This article was originally published June 16, 2014. It was updated with new research and information and republished Sept. 6, 2019.) Disadvantages of social network

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Impact of Social Media on Lifelong Learning. (2022, Feb 11). Retrieved from

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